a review by Evie Kendal
As a huge fan of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series I must confess I approached the final instalment, Rapture, with much trepidation. After all, what if Kate pulled a Twilight Book Four – promising an epic battle then just letting the drama fizzle out to nothing? Or even worse a Harry Potter Book Seven with its twenty unnecessary chapters and dire need of editing? More concerning still was the fact I’d recently read Kate’s debut novel The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove (2009), which I can only describe as the weirdest young adult novel ever published. However, if there’s one thing readers can expect from the Fallen series it’s that each instalment will have a distinct purpose and solid structure – and Rapture is no different. There’s no meandering filler, no self-indulgent reminiscing over earlier plot developments, and when drama is promised it is delivered.
As a brief introduction to the series thus far, in the first book, Fallen, the focus was on protagonist Lucinda Price discovering fallen angel Daniel Grigori’s secret and that her own soul had been reincarnated over and over throughout history, always bound to his. The second novel, Torment, saw Luce attending a school for Nephilim and learning more about the supernatural realm, then in Passion the reader follows Luce’s journey through her past lives, trying to determine how to break the curse that keeps killing her every time she and Daniel get together. Providing a very brief recap of earlier events, Rapture builds on the previous revelations within the series and creates a new mission for Luce and Daniel to embark on. At the end of Passion, Lucifer went back in time to the Fall to erase all of history after that event, and now in Rapture Luce, Daniel and their allies have only nine days to find the exact location on Earth that the angels first fell millennia ago in order to preserve the past. Seeking out holy relics from across the globe to help them, the fallen angels make new alliances and must fight off the Scale, warrior-like angels charged with maintaining the balance between good and evil.
The most interesting development in Rapture concerns who and what Luce is. There have been hints throughout the series that she has a significant role to play in the final battle between the angels, demons and supernaturals-in-between, however these have been quite vague and sometimes implied her importance is only a result of her association with Daniel. Rapture actually begins exploring the super-human abilities Luce unknowingly possesses, granting her more agency and removing what little of the “damsel-in-distress” was found in her characterisation toward the beginning of the series. She discovers she can recall her past lives at will, access hidden dimensions, and even overcome most human frailties (such as that pesky need for oxygen that plagues so many of us). What becomes a little frustrating is the way Daniel and the others shelter her for as long as possible regarding the truth of her existence, however they do provide decent reasons for this.
After reading the resolution of the major story arc my first instinct was to say that it wasn’t my ideal ending, but that it was certainly far better than some of the alternative endings I had imagined possible. On further reflection, however, I realised the ending was vitally important for the overall message of the series. With many young adult series giving young girls a rather dangerous view of romance, it was refreshing to see in Rapture a clear message that if a boy acts jealously possessive and treats you as a means toward his own ambitions that he doesn’t truly love you. Contrariwise, if a boy strives to redress any power imbalance in your relationship to ensure an equal partnership and respect your autonomy, this is the foundation of a positive relationship. Real love is depicted in the series as being the sort of sacrificial love that puts the interests of the other first and accepts them exactly as they are. Given the necessity of the ending to facilitate this message I can forgive the fact it contained some minor disappointments.
As with all the earlier instalments, the cover art of Rapture is gorgeous and the text font and size makes for very easy reading. The language is accessible to a general audience and the mythology and narrative style engaging. Thoroughly recommended.